SINGAPORE: Former Deputy Prime Minister Professor S Jayakumar heads this year’s list of National Day Award recipients.
Prof Jayakumar, who currently serves as Senior Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs (MFA), was awarded the Order of Temasek (with High Distinction).
A spokesperson for the MFA said that Prof Jayakumar “has left an indelible mark in several key ministerial appointments – Home Affairs, Law and Foreign Affairs, and later as Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinating Minister for National Security and Senior Minister.”
As foreign minister from 1994 to 2004, he played a key role in fostering ASEAN cooperation and advancing Singapore’s interests during a crucial period which saw the 9/11 terrorist attack in the US, the spokesperson said on Sunday (Aug 9) in response to media queries.
“He protected our national interests adroitly, while keeping relations on a steady keel, on a range of complex bilateral issues: With Malaysia, the Points of Agreement on Malayan Railway Land, issues related to the Singapore-Malaysia Water Agreements and the Pedra Branca disputes; haze, the Defence Cooperation Agreement, and Extradition Treaty with Indonesia, and the Flor Contemplacion case with the Philippines,” the spokesperson said.
Prof Jayakumar continued to oversee foreign policy issues involving legal negotiation or international adjudication as deputy prime minister after relinquishing the Foreign Affairs portfolio. He led the Singapore team that successfully pleaded Singapore’s case on the Pedra Branca dispute before the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2007.
This resulted in the judgment that included awarding sovereignty over Pedra Branca to Singapore in 2008.
Prof Jayakumar was appointed Senior Legal Adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs in June 2018.
“Many of our younger generation of Foreign Service and Legal Service officers have benefitted from his rich experience and strategic perspectives in managing sensitive bilateral and multilateral issues,” said the spokesperson.
Prof Jayakumar is one of the 5,470 people receiving National Day Honours this year.
Among the other recipients is Mr Koh Choon Hui, the chairman of the Singapore Children’s Society, who was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.
Mr Koh has held this position since 1978, according to the Society’s website. He started volunteering with the Society in 1975.
Also receiving the Distinguished Service Order is Professor Wang Gungwu, the former chairman of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. He was also chairman at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and also served as chairman of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore.
READ: ‘We will need this unity and resilience more than ever’ in fight against COVID-19, says PM Lee in National Day message
A full list of this year’s National Day Award recipients is available at the website of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
This list does not include individuals and organisations who have distinguished themselves in the COVID-19 crisis. There will be a separate list of national awards to recognise those who have made significant contributions in the national response to COVID-19 in due course, said the PMO.